United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
Patrick Hanlon, United States District Judge.
Nicole Williams was contracted by Wexford of Indiana to work
for the Indiana Department of Correction (the
“IDOC”). Her work at the IDOC was effectively
terminated when the IDOC barred Ms. Williams from its
premises. In response, Ms. Williams brought an array of
statutory and constitutional claims against Wexford, the
IDOC, and Officer Shelby Puckett. Wexford was dismissed from
the case, dkt. 59, while the IDOC and Officer Puckett have
filed a motion to dismiss the claims, dkt. 34. For the
reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS in part and
DENIES in part the motion to dismiss. Dkt. .
ruling on a motion brought under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court
accepts and recites “the well-pleaded facts in the
complaint as true.” McCauley v. City of
Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011).
Williams is a white female who suffers from anxiety,
depression, and PTSD stemming from prior sexual abuse. Dkt.
29 (Compl. ¶ 11). Ms. Williams was contracted by Wexford
to work for the IDOC at its Plainfield Correctional Facility
where a male coworker sexually harassed her during training.
Id. (¶ 12). She filed a complaint regarding her
coworker's harassment, but the IDOC failed to address her
concerns. Id. (¶ 13). An African American
employee later filed a sexual harassment complaint against
the same coworker and the coworker was terminated.
Id. (¶ 15). The African American employee was
not gate locked or terminated. Id. (¶ 20).
Ms. Williams made at least two complaints of sexual
harassment against several inmates; the IDOC, again, failed
to address her concerns. Id. (¶ 17).
point, Ms. Williams was asked to corroborate a report filed
by a corrections officer against an inmate, but she refused
because the incident did not happen. Id. (¶
Ms. Williams was being sexually harassed by an inmate in the
infirmary and a correctional officer refused to get involved.
Id. (¶ 18). On September 25, 2017, the
IDOC's Internal Affairs Department notified her that it
would investigate the sexual harassment incident and placed
her on unpaid suspension. Id. (¶ 19). About one
week later, Officer Puckett, an officer within the Internal
Affairs Department, entered a gate lock order against
her, which ended her employment. Id. (¶ 20).
that she had been discriminated against, Ms. Williams
obtained two right-to-sue letters from the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission in February and October 2018.
Id. (¶¶ 7, 8). Ms. Williams brought this
suit after receiving the first letter, dkt. 1, and filed an
amended complaint shortly after receiving the second letter,
scatter-shot fashion, the amended complaint brings a multitude
of claims against the IDOC and Officer Puckett alleging
discrimination on the basis of race (Count I), color (Count
II), and sex (Count III) in violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et
seq.; discrimination on the basis of disability in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.
(Count IV); retaliation for filing sexual harassment
complaints (Count V); and discrimination on the basis of race
in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Count VI).
Id. The amended complaint also brings a separate
claim against Officer Puckett alleging violations of Ms.
Williams' rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the
United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count
IDOC and Officer Puckett have filed a motion to dismiss the
amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Dkt. 34. In responding to the motion to dismiss,
Ms. Williams voluntarily dismisses all claims under the ADA
(Count IV), and Section 1981 (Count VI), as well as the Title
VII claims against Officer Puckett set forth in Counts I, II,
III, and V. Dkt. 39 at 5-6. Therefore, Counts IV and VI
against the IDOC and Counts I, II, III, IV, V, and VI against
Officer Puckett are dismissed.
may move under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to
dismiss claims for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6). To
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A facially plausible claim is one that
allows “the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court will “accept the
well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true, ” but will
not defer to “legal conclusions and conclusory
allegations merely reciting the elements of the claim.”
McCauley, 671 F.3d at 616.
identify the following bases in support of their motion to
dismiss: (1) the discrimination claims against the IDOC
should be dismissed because Ms. Williams was an independent
contractor, not an employee; (2) the retaliation claim
against the IDOC should be dismissed because Ms. Williams was
an independent contractor and sovereign immunity bars
liability; and (3) the Section 1983 claim ...